Let me begin by saying that I understand that a lot of people like Deone Bucannon. I get it. Our defense hasn't been physical (or for that matter, consistently effective) for the past three years. And a lot of that is the fault of the safeties, especially the revolving door of Charlie Peprah/Jerron McMillan/M.D. Jennings/Sean Richardson. All showed upside, but there's a reason that only Richardson is left on the team, and that too in what should be a reserve role. This inconsistency made Morgan Burnett essentially take on the role of two safeties, and, well, we know how that worked out. One of the biggest things Bucannon has going for him is his hard hitting ability- if a receiver catches a pass over the middle, the Washington State safety is intent on punishing the ballcarrier. All of this is good and well, but it won't alleviate the problems that the Packers have. The reason why is rooted in a couple of key points.
Deone Bucannon is a strong safety.
It's part of his identity. He's not a Jimmie Ward-type strong safety who is best suited playing deep in the NFL. Bucannon is 6'0" and 216 pounds of muscle, and he's at his best when he can hurtle towards the line to sniff out plays. He is NOT the man you want in the defensive backfield as your last line of defense. WalterFootball's Charlie Campbell notes that Bucannon "can function as an eight man in the box and help to defend the run." (If you want to read the whole report, it's linked here.) The issue here is that the Packers don't need a James Ihedgibo-type player, a monster versus the run who is exposed in passing situations. Unfortunately, that seems to be the kind of player that Bucannon is. His speed is adequate, but his fluidity isn't; whether he can cover the tight ends and slot receivers in the NFL remains to be seen, and it's clear that the Packers don't want another work-in-progress type safety starting in 2014.
Bucannon isn't a team fit.
In a way, this takes from the previous point. Bucannon is best served in a Tampa 2-type defense. He's also not best-served playing on a defense which doesn't have a middle linebacker who can take the tight ends. Also, strong safety is Morgan Burnett's position, and both Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy will want to put Burnett in his best possible position as to avoid the meltdown that was last season (and to show Packers fans why Burnett was inked to his long-term contract.) This means that Bucannon would either have to play deep safety (which he can't do at this point) or the Packers would have to field two strong safeties: guys who can hit but can't cover deep for beans. Neither seems like a recipe for success.
There are better players available.
This safety class isn't fantastic, but there are players to be had. In the first, if Hasean Clinton-Dix is available in the first, he should be the Packers' pick (unless something ridiculous happens.) Calvin Pryor's Combine wasn't great (he literally shrunk three inches) but he does have the ability to hang with NFL tight ends. Jimmie Ward could be an excellent NFL safety if put in the right situation (that is to say, not forced to play the run.) I also like Dion Bailey, who might even last longer than Bucannon. Bailey is a converted linebacker (so you know he can pack a punch) who plays zone coverage well; WalterFootball also rates him as the top in the draft when it comes to ball skills, and he can defend tight ends.For the Packers to really consider Bucannon, I think Clinton-Dix, Pryor, Ward and Bailey have to be off the board.
Then again, that's just my take. For all I know, Ted Thompson is in his underground bunker scouting Bucannon as I write, and perhaps he really likes the power that the former Cougar packs (literally.) I just don't see it happening, though.
As always, please feel free to comment with your take! I've published a FanPost once a day for the past three days, so hopefully I'm getting better!